Winter solstice

So much to say and so little space in time.

Welcome the winter solstice.  The winter solstice — also known as Yule, Midwinter, the Shortest Day of the Year and the Longest Night — occurs at 11:28 a.m. ET Thursday.

But this short, little day with the great many names also may be the worst day of the year, according to astrologers. The reason? Saturn (not to be confused for satan)

Apparently, the sun will appear to pass in front of the constellation Capricorn hours after Saturn does likewise. This will cause both of these orbs to line up for the first time time since 1664, according to London astrologer Neil Spencer, who writes for The (London) Observer but first wrote about the alignment on his blog. Check it out!

He insists that starting something new on this day is “ill advised” and will have long-term consequences. And anything you try to do Thursday will be more difficult than usual, take more time and be more frustrating.

How was your day so far? I have experienced some frustration today and found it difficult to find an ingredient I needed for baking bread (lol).  Here’s hoping your well.

“Blessings on your journey”


Day 33


Last night at 11:00pm our funeral home staff met the plane of a fallen soldier.

From “Living and Dying” the book

Military funerals are a remarkable experience to witness. If any organization truly understands the privilege of attending to a ceremony celebrating life, it’s the military. I don’t care what branch or what age, the military does it right. There is an understanding of life and death on a very fundamental and real level in the military. They understand the sanctity of life, they understand the meaning of ceremony, and they understand reverence to death. If you have ever had the opportunity to witness a full military funeral, you know what I mean.

We’ve had the unfortunate task of attending to many military funerals at our firm. My most recent experience was memorable in that the local airport manager and security team had me over in advance to review the procedures in receiving the remains from overseas. We arrived at the designated time with our hearse and staff, and were escorted onto the airfield. When the plane arrived, the family was on the tarmac with our staff, the airport dignitaries, security team, airport fire department, and the local sheriff’s department.

As the plane came to a stop at the gate and shut down its engine, the military escort was asked to deplane and the passengers asked to wait to deplane until after the deceased veteran was transferred from the cargo hold. As I sit here today I can remember the tears welling in my eyes as I experienced the gratitude of a nation receiving a fallen soldier home. There was not a dry eye in the airport who witnessed this, and I can assure you it will not be forgotten by anyone there

The services for this Army officer took place over three days. A platoon of officers and enlisted men in attendance had specific instructions for attending to the family, our staff and the deceased veteran who had died in battle. I was so impressed with their attention to detail and their willingness to serve this honor of burial, that I spent extra time training and practicing with them on the specific details so I didn’t feel the need to have my trained staff involved. It was with gratitude, honor, and duty that these fine men and women performed their roles. If we could learn anything from the military, it’s the way they deal with their dead: with respect, gratitude, honor, and duty.

“Blessings on your journey”

Tears on my pillow

Day 32

Tonight I will speak with two ladies I spent a weekend with in Los Angeles.  In March this year I spent the weekend in a house with Camille, from Alaska and Sascha, from Australia.

Breakfast at Shutters on the beach

We were all there to connect with Kyle Cease and spend a three day intensive weekend.  It started out with me taking an extra day on the front side, and staying in Beverly Hills (swimming pools, movie stars) for my first night.  I had a bad experience with LA in my younger years and wanted to find out if I couldn’t turn that around.   I found my way to the Peninsula Hotel

If there was a better experience to be had in LA I’m sure it wouldn’t have surpassed the experience at the Peninsula.  The service component in the hotel rivaled anywhere I’ve stayed.  The pillow case in my room had my initials on them.

My Pillow

After resolving my LA issues by indulging myself in the lap of luxury, I found my way to our meeting place, a four bedroom house tucked up into the LA hillside for the weekend.

Our meeting started Friday afternoon and went until late Sunday night. It was intense and revealing on many levels.  Many a tear was shed as we journeyed towards a new sense of self and authenticity. The team with Kyle were very accommodating and supportive and continue to be.

Some of the team

As time has gone on, we have made the effort to touch base by phone, Skype, and through Facebook.  Each of us have made leaps and bounds along the way. We have all scraped our knees and bruised our muscles in the process.  Tonight we will spend whatever time it takes to get caught up on our journeys.  I feel blessed to know them and I know they feel the same.  Who do you know that you can say that about? Call them!

“Blessings on your journey”

To be, or not to be

Today I thought I would spend some time in thought and contemplation about my intentions for the new cycle and perhaps the new year ahead.  How do I want to be living in my authenticity? What does it mean for me to be truly fully embodied? What truths do I have the desire and readiness to express in my daily life.  And, what would my behavioral choices look like if I were living the highest version of myself.

I want to live in my authenticity by being open, honest and loving every moment of my day. I believe that my authentic self is openness, honesty and love for all people, places and things.  I believe that if I can live in my authenticity I naturally become fully embodied as the presence of love. Being present with those traits in an open and honest space with no judgment or concern is what being truly embodied means to me.  I have always had the desire to be the best I could be and be that gift to all.  I have had moments when I have been that true embodiment and times when I have not.  I am ready to be the expression of love always, and have the desire to embody openness and honesty in my daily life.

As I enter the new phase and new year, I choose health, family and community.  I will choose to put good things in my body, and keep physically active and flexible. I will choose to feed my mind and spiritual being with love and compassion.  I will choose to share and support/mentor/play with family, friends and community.  I will choose to build new bridges and seek new opportunity to grow and learn.  I will choose to not beat myself up if at times it feels like I failed in living my highest version of myself.

Join me!

“Blessings on your journey”



The family business

Day 30

From “Living and Dying” the book

Perhaps one of the most important elements the funeral professional brings to a grieving family’s world at the time of a death is “normalcy.” I live in a world where I am constantly reminded that we all die. In fact, I get that call every day. When it is your turn to call, you need that personal and emotional connection with normalcy. You need someone who has been there to listen and advise you as you navigate a journey you’ve possibly never experienced. You need someone who is comfortable with the death experience that brings a strong presence and calm to an otherwise anxious and often unfamiliar time. You need someone who has asked themselves the hard questions, and who sees death as a normal part of life.

What I mean by that is that with life comes death; it is a normal evolution of what happens to us. We have no control over the length of time we’re here, and we need to realize that there will come a time when what we know to be true today will be different tomorrow.

When that moment comes, you need us because we all need to feel safe, loved, and cared for. We need someone that can help coordinate the simpler daily activities you will be struggling with, someone who can help with logistics and scheduling. We need someone who has experience and knows what works and what does not work, and can communicate that. We need a trusted guide, someone who sincerely wants your family to experience a journey of healing, and we need someone who cares and wants to be there. When dealing with loss, there is an element of discomfort.

I see our role as one of responsibility first and empathy second. What I mean by that is that it is my responsibility to share with you my knowledge in the healing journey before you, and to help you craft an experience to your individual needs. I can only hope you don’t deny your feelings or abuse your connections with family and community. In addition to everything else I have mentioned here, it’s incumbent on me to be a good communicator and counselor. I need to be able to walk you down a path where you feel safe and secure, and I need to set that stage in a few hours.

The old way of funeral directing has changed. We are being called to perform superhuman functions in a time of distress and questioning. We are being required to develop new paradigms as the old ones no longer work. We are a profession reinventing itself, re-connecting to a new normal. Not an enviable task but one demanded of us. Those who are successful will remain in this time honored profession. Those who do not will be gone.

“Blessings on your journey”


Day 29


From “Living and Dying” the book

What is truly remarkable to me is how we either feel or do not feel connection. We can feel connected through family, friends, work, social, and cultural experiences. We are designed to feel connected emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically. Our shared connection can feel intensely good, yet there are days when we feel completely alone. How can that be? What is it that disconnects us? Where does the connection go? Is it a physical disconnect? Are we hurting so badly that the energy needed to connect is hidden and blocked? Is it an emotional disconnection? Is it so bad sometimes that our anger, or fear, blocks our ability to communicate our thoughts? Or is it a spiritual disconnect, where we feel completely separate in our growth and our faith? Do we often feel disappointed with God for not helping us find our way and for not answering our prayers?

I believe it’s all of the above, and I have experienced it all just as you have.
There are many great books and speakers talking about a new age, a new phase in our world. The main theme of these books revolves around the concept of returning to our source or connecting with our source. What I’m most happy about these days is that the more people I listen to, the more I am hearing the same thing. This is a time filled with struggle, fear, and trepidation. Yet it is exciting to see these things as they are slowly being eroded by love. The world is emerging to a new place as if a cloud has been removed from our heavens, as if something is uncovering new truths about the universe, as if there is a new and strengthened connection. It is undeniably a very powerful and transforming time—albeit extreme at times.

With all types of connection there is an internal experience or reaction that either feels foreign and odd, or good and right. While I believe we all have a common spiritual connection and a lot of what I write about reflects that idea, there are many other ways in which we connect. In fact, the mere experience of reading these words connects us in a world of thought, and that experience, that thought will undoubtedly create an energy that is felt as emotion. I know that for some, the words on these pages will produce an emotional response. I know that for some, the words on these pages will cause disagreement and reaction. I know that for some, the words on these pages will move them to a new place of understanding. I know that the mere fact that we react to being connected in any way is the purpose of our lives.

“Blessings on your journey”


Day 28 for Barbara

Joy – for our hearts!

From “Living and Dying” the book

I had the experience of living in a state of joy for two weeks around the time of my sixtieth birthday. I like to tell the story of a dream I had at that time, which is where the experience began. In the dream, I was having breakfast with my two-year-old grandson at my favorite diner in Livonia NY. He looked to me when he saw a bird fly by and asked me, “Ba Ba,” (he calls me Ba Ba,) and he really couldn’t talk in real life, “how come birds can fly?” My response was, “Because it’s their nature.” After a reflective pause in the conversation, I then asked my grandson, “What is our nature?” His immediate response was, “Our nature’s to love, Ba Ba” and then went casually back to eating his breakfast. As I let that moment of childhood innocence and powerful truth flow over and through me, an overwhelming feeling of love and joy filled my being. I could only think of one thing so I asked him, “How come so many of us don’t follow our nature?” He said, “It’s because we can think. Animals can’t think and when you can think, you can forget.”

The dream brought me tears of joy for weeks after as I truly saw only love everywhere and for everyone I came into contact with. Whether it was the checkout girl at the register, the gas attendant, my family, or friends, I could only feel joy and love for everyone, I was love in its fullest. It was during that time when I realized that we all have the choice to shape our experience into what it is that we want, and only we can make that happen for ourselves.

Weeks later I returned to the other world, the back and forth world of love and fear. Often when I felt removed from love, I would notice a sense of being lost which made me angry, unloving and in some way less than I wanted to be and feel. It was in this struggle with loss that I became aware of my own loss of connection.
When I felt lost I would spend time in my head trying to figure it all out. Why was it happening? What was wrong with me? Why, why, why? It was this back and forth activity ‘life’ that brought me to this place today.
What I learned and continue to learn is all of our struggles are merely opportunities for re-direction, re-orienting us to find our path. They are really a blessing, a gift. I soon realized that when I felt lost, it was only because I had lost my way—taken a detour off the main highway. Because it was such a frequent event in my life, I just didn’t really notice it.

The experience of those two weeks of pure love and joy brought me to a place where I now recognize more frequently that feeling of disconnection—and I don’t like it. If we can find a way to re-orient our attention with our source, getting back to that main highway, when we feel these things, we can find our way back. We can return to the place that connects us with all things in our universe, a perpetual energy zone where all things are possible. Maybe all we need is a good map!

“Blessings on your journey”